Coffee House

Any questions for Iain Duncan Smith?

9 October 2012

I’m interviewing Iain Duncan Smith today for a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference, hosted by the Centre for Social Justice. I will be able to grill him for an hour. It’s been quite a week for him, with this rapprochement with George Osborne and continued questions over the viability of his Universal Credit. A year since the riots, it’d be interesting to know what – if anything – has changed as a result the task forces etc that he was telling The Spectator about a the time.

But what questions would you like to put to the Secretary of State? Let me know, I’ll put them to him and report back

Give the perfect gift this Christmas. Buy a subscription for a friend for just £75 and you’ll receive a free gift too. Buy now.

Show comments
  • drydamol1

    By law immigrants have to be told what benefits they are entitled to ,do you think it fair that UK residents don’t .How do your Fascist teaching you were taught in Italy bode with this double standard dilemma .

  • PIX

    Also how can his party defend mass immigration when it has had such a devastating effect on housing, and the welfare bill? Oh and lets not forget the billions they give to foreign countries. ALL AT THE EXPENSE OF THE SICK AND DISABLED.

  • PIX

    Why are people with with serious mental health issues ie schizophrenia, bi-polar, schizo-affecrtive disorder etc, who also have the backing of their consultants subject to the WCA when they were previously exempt? Does he have any clue as to how much pain and fear this causes? Benefits are denied then a grueling appeal. Also vital support services have been withdrawn in favour of floating support that floats of after 2 years! how are these people supposed to manage such complicated processes.

  • Wilhelm

    Why does the government give £13 Billion of taxpayers money in foreign aid to African dictators ?

  • eomunda

    Ask him why ATOS and the DWP waste thousands of taxpayers money assessing and reassessing people who have severe disabilities, some from birth and progressive disabilities that will never get better and therefore will never be fit for work

  • Adam Lotun WDA

    What are his comments on the recent reports that ATOS will not be allowed to carry out Work Capability Assessments in Scotland and how does that bode in the mantra of fairness that the ConDems trot out, and how will the ConDems justify this under the Eqialuty Act 2010 by treating disabled people in England, Wales & N.Ireland by treating them differently from disabled people in Scotland…it is blatantly illegal under the Eqialuty act!…

  • kate

    why is it the disabled and others are losing benefits, and HB yet the gov can still claim benefits ie expenses,even tho they are millionaires, surely its time mps were subject to means testing too. why are the tories so happy to see so many people suffer.

  • Jennissw

    Is it true that the government are turning a blind eye to the fact that the company the DWP employ to decide on fitness for work for the disabled and mentally sick(ATOS) are, I believe assessing people incorrectly and reporting incorrect information about them? if the government are turning a blind eye, would this be because they really do not mind other more vulnerable human beings suffering financially and losing everything, including their homes? If the government do not mind,why?

  • keven64

    …you spoke on Monday, saying that the Conservative party must retain a strong compassionate streak.
    Whenever did the Conservative Party get a compassionate streak ?

    NO compassion for the poor ! No compassion for the sick !
    No compassion for those out of work and seeking jobs that are not there.
    Worst of all… No compassion for the disabled !
    They are being told that they are fit for work – despite being seriously ill in some cases…
    …after an ‘assessment’ by ATOS that is nothing short of a diabolical disgrace !

    That leaves them with facing the ultimate prospect of trying to find a job when there are many able-bodied unemployed to fill the few vacancies there are.
    Those that do get by the farcical ATOS ‘tests’ must then undergo regular revisions of their situation…
    …even though many have incurable and degenerative conditions.

    Others are left facing appeals that will take months to be heard and with the prospect of losing benefits.
    Many people have subsequently died…

    How, Mr Duncan Smith – is any of that an example of Conservative Compassion ? ! ?

  • Colin Wilson

    A few of additional questions;

    Will you go and stay with someone in receipt of benefits, perhaps with learning and physical disabilities, and spend at least one full week living the lives of those you demonise.

    How do you expect full-time carers to find work when they already have a full-time job, and who will pay for the specialist care required to replace the full-time carer who has been forced to take a job on minimum wage.

    How can you sleep at night ?

    • keven64

      …perhaps he has drawer full of pills ?

    • Mike

      No! IDS should spend 1 month living so, given his cronies plan to move benefits to once a month!

  • Colin Wilson

    Why are ATOS allowed to commit medical negligence when they “assess” claimants using essentially untrained staff to determine many conditions, and why are they (or the DWP) not getting details of the claimants’ conditions direct from the patients’ GPs / specialists, who have the necessary background knowledge and expertise ?

    Who is legally liable for these negligent assessments, and how do claimants get a rapid resolution so their benefits are not affected, or are affected for a minimum period of time ?

    How will people with mental health conditions be assessed, given that it seems the proposed system appears biased towards those with physical conditions ?

    Where multiple diagnoses are concerned, how will the compound detrimental effects of each condition be taken into account ? (i.e. autism, and chronic pain syndrome)

    Why are people being encouraged to take on the role of an employer, with all the resultant liabilities and responsibilities (i.e. sick pay, holidays), when THEY are the ones who need the care – and why are they left in a position where they are receiving less care as a result, due to the higher costs of “bought in” care.

    • drydamol1

      Tom its a quick fix to implement Universal Credit ,Atos are expected to deem everyone ‘fit for work’ so as a blanket new start,as new claimants they have to apply for Universal Credit whereby everyone loses out please visit for a better unstanding

    • drydamol1

      Colin please go to for a better unstanding of all the implications

  • hoodedandproud

    how’s apathy working out for him?

  • Alicat

    The sudden cut in benefits has left chronically ill people with mortgages in danger of losing their houses how are they to be rehoused this affects me. Is he aware that people are killing themselves over these measures (he must think this is a bonus)

  • anonymous

    Atos are a one world goverment taking over the world

  • Dezz

    I won’t ask why we haven’t had an elected prime minister since 2007 that’s a waste of a question. I won’t ask why it’s seen as appropriate to make people work for their jobseakers allowance as effectively unpaid volunteers in such a competitive job market because that’s such an obvious question. I won’t even try to tug at your heart strings by asking if you think it’s ethical to continue down the track of sending unfit people back to work given the mortality rate of that venture since that’s become a redundant question at this point. Mr Duncan Smith When you and the government has finally cured the country of sickness and forced everyone into jobs that don’t exist….. Will the national insurance contributions and other tax that people pay on their salary go down as a result?

  • Bill Cox

    Does he think that 72 deaths, including 32 suicides a week caused by the stress of his vicious harassment of disabled people, is too much?

  • Bill Cox

    Do you think that 72 suicides a week, caused by your vicious harassment of disabled people, is too much?

  • Angela

    How can issues that are absolutely vital for the success of this country be broken away from the party political propaganda that distorts the debate and often smothers the truth? In other words how can the narrative needed for progress be wrestled from the clutches of the left wing who are obstructing it at every turn?

  • Kevin James

    Why don’t the govt account for all the disabled going through their assessments and policies, It is actually their lawful duty. They refused to account for the disabled. So After Atos did, and takes feedback monthly and posts the feedback regularly.

    Since 2008 Atos Healthcare on behalf of the government has been assessing and discounting the disabled at a rate of over 3,000 per day and 800,000 per year. At no time did the DWP, Government or Atos put in a feedback system to monitor or account for the disabled. AFTER ATOS sets out to do that. We answer the question. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

    Do you think it right that a Atos assessment centre for disabled is on 3rd floor, or that a brail notice is 12ft off the ground? Why is it that a person who is dead and died in their waiting room is declared “Fit for Work.”

  • Kevin James

    1000 disabled people died a month last year on his WCA and ESA scheme. many without even the money to feed themselves. Ask him when is he going to realise the effects of his policies on disabled, carers. Does he realise benefits are for essentials and basics and even the only thing dependent children depend on. The National Insurance and Welfare System is a contract. They have taken the money, now deliver the service and duty of care.

  • Jim Moore

    Please ask him what is he doing about the situation over the many deaths caused due to his policies. In April 32 people were dying a week who were incorrectly assessed and now it is running at 73 persons bring the 11 month total for 2011 from January to November to 10,600 of which 3,300 were either in the work groups or still being assessed way past the 14 weeks !

  • drydamol1

    All your questions are answered with rhetoric ,MP’s are trained in how not to answer a question with a direct answer ,that’s why they are there and we are here they wallow in bul**it , we wash it off if stood in any .Don’t forget they can smoke in parliament,they have subsidised drink paid by us,and we are expected to look up to them,morally non of them could could match a homeless person with morals.Remember Marie Attonette “let them eat cake” that attitude still prevails

  • drydamol1

    Why as failed leader of the Tory party have you been given the dirtiest job in politics for fifty years,and still feel you a fascist are an asset to this country or your party that want rid of you

    • Fergus Pickering

      Dear me. Ian Duncan Smith is a fascist. Heavens! Just think – I never knew. How lucky we are to have people like you to tell us the plain truth.

  • Wilhelm

    Why is it Third World immigrants who commit crime are not deported ?

  • philip sayers

    well,well i see we arent rid of all the nazis,yet.

    • ToryOAP

      Not while you and the other Jimmy filth keep coming here you nazi numpty.

      • jeffrey davies

        i am sorry to say ids does not think hes doing anything wrong with it and the death just make good reading for him thus saving the goverment money but do you think they care i doubt it very much and that is a sad fact they dont care christians they not only money do they care about torys look after the rich wwh owill not pay their dues in taxes and the bankers who put us in this hole are now getting away with it once again after yet fixing the rates ,but dont worry ids they just saved my jeff3 from death only just but im still drawing money you cant afford to pay me as you like to keep it all for your mates so that they can award themselves 8.6 million bonuses ops never mind i die one day but then you wont care jeff3

  • Russell

    Why a £26,000 tax free cap? That is unaffordable for taxpayers.
    Why not a more realistic £15,000? or something approaching 40 hours on minimum pay?

  • philip sayers

    will ids be able to understand you nelson or does he need an interpreter?

  • patricia

    I demand answers to the same questions as those put by Wilhelm, Ian Walker and Coffeehousewall.

    • drydamol1

      Our voices have to be united in a common goal ,our individual frustration is from the heart but not heard as individuals ,if this country was invaded, we as a nation would come together and defend it to the ultimate ,our nation has been invaded by politicians ,make a stance sign the petition on

  • David Tyler

    Atos has a bad reputation for the work it does for DWP. Why not reduce the size of the contracts and invite other firms to bid.
    This will mean that there is competition and firms can be replaced if
    they fail in to pass on accurate information about claimants to DWP.
    Firms should not get money for cases which are overturned on appeal. I
    know that DWP make decisions. It would however improve the
    information passed on to DWP.

  • Coffeehousewall

    What is the total cost to the UK taxpayer of immigration of all sorts, and of the children of immigrants? Almost all Somalian immigrants, for instance, are unemployed. What is the total cost, including education, health care, translation services, proportion of armed forces, police, road costs etc etc that immigrants produce to the UK taxpayer?

    • Jim Moore

      I know they earn a lot from immigrants

      • Coffeehousewall

        Since 95% of Somalians are on benefits how much are they producing? And you haven’t answered the question. What are the costs?

        • Jim Moore

          Many are recent asylum speakers but if you talk about all immigrants we find they actually contribute a lot of money far more then being spent on asylum seekers which is an international obligation given the situation in their country or do you not read the news ? Eventually through help they will produce and contribute like most immigrants do historically
          Tonight I am not here to debate this anyway I am more interested tonight on debating the 3,600 a year needless deaths thanks to IDS’ policies

          • Coffeehousewall

            You have ignored the question or do not understand it. What is the cost of all immigrants and their children? Most Bangaldeshis are on benefits in this country. They are not asylum seekers. How much do they cost? I think you will find that the costs far outweigh any income. What is the cost of having so many unemployed British people because their jobs have been taken by immigrants? What is the cost to British people because the pressure on housing due to immigration has increased house prices?

            If you do not know the answers then don’t post.

        • dalai guevara

          I know this is a bit leftfield, but did you include the subsidies for Olympic gold medal athletes training in the US in your figures? It would tell you a great deal about what our UK intentions are with respect to ‘cashing in’ on foreign workers.

  • Mike Barnes

    Sorry forgot another one.

    Is it fair that this system is ‘digital by default’ meaning anybody without a home computer, internet connection or sufficient computer literacy will struggle to claim and track their benefits? Will you guarantee that people can get adequate help via telephone helplines or in person?

  • Mike Barnes

    Why does he refuse to listen to or meet with the almost 100 charities warning him the Universal Credit IT system is a train-wreck waiting to happen?

    Does he think it’s realistic that every business in the land can provide real time pay and tax information for all of their employees every single month?

    Are there any contingency plans should things go wrong?

  • Tom M

    Young people are
    already facing an incredibly tough time, with high unemployment, rising living
    costs and flat-lining wages for those lucky enough to have a job. Is removing
    housing benefit for under 25s really the answer to these problems? Or will it
    result in a huge blow for those young people struggling to set themselves up
    for life?

    • drydamol1

      Tom ‘dole money ‘ was £25 per week in 1979 under Thatcher ,visit and use the calculator on there ,it should be £113 per week instead of £71

  • Ian Walker

    How would you explain our foreign aid policy to a homeless Briton?

    • james102

      From a distance.

  • John Steed

    How can you justify higher-rate tax relief for pensions?

  • E Hart

    Why is the Tory Party so hell-bent on producing a low paid, low skilled, low security, low capacity economy in this country? And as a subsidiary: Why does he think the former will generate the kind of economic benefits normally associated with those that are high skilled, add value and provide people with disposal (rather than subsistence) income?

  • E Hart

    What are the electoral benefits of targeting people who cannot find jobs that don’t exist?

    • Coffeehousewall

      Surely people should be looking for the jobs that do exist? And perhaps asking why 7 million immigrants have been allowed to take the jobs that should belong to our children?

      • Dezz

        Then perhaps not giving the jobs that are left to unpaid worffair staff might be a start down the right road?

      • E Hart

        Applicants are chided for not working when the ratio of jobs to applicants is 1:5. I’d say that leaves a few non-existent vacancies, wouldn’t you? Where I’d agree with you is that it wasn’t too clever to eschew quotas when the Eastern European nations acceded to the EU. Some states specialise in exporting people (their unemployed).

    • drydamol1

      None the tories are just trying to appease the party faithful – them that have it

  • George_Arseborne

    Although I am in favour of benefit cap for non working families, I hope you will ask him how damaging will this cap be on hard working family with low income. What will be the overall impact in the community. Is this Universal credit just a headline story or an accident waiting to occur? Finally could you let him know that being a private sector worker I will never vote for the Tories because we are not yielding any benefit .

  • Johnny

    Which do you prefer – Club Orange or Mint Viscount biscuits?

  • Wilhelm

    Why are Third World immigrants getting free housing, free education, free health care, free dole money ? Is it any wonder they are all coming here if they don’t pay for anything ?

    • drydamol1

      By law immigrants are told what benefits their entitled to.UK residents are not

  • Iain Hill

    Ask him if he would accept as principles 1 that young people need a comprehensive local infrastructure to mentor and support them into jobs (expensive if it is to be properly sustained), and 2 that benefits should only be cut for individuals and not for randomly selected groups if a trainee has not responded to genuine support received or refuses a reasonable and actual job offer.

  • real__world

    Question for IDS – Isn’t it time that benefits like Winter Fuel Allowance, Free TV licence Fee and Bus Passes were combined into the state pension to enable them to be taxed for the well off. It also would solve his issues over ex-pats getting the WFA allowance.

  • james102

    Yes, why is the fact that a ridiculous 53% of households in
    the UK are net recipients of welfare not more widely known? And why is the unaffordability generally of the European social model, in the light of its demographics not widely discussed?

  • telemachus

    1.Are the IT systems up to the change?

    2.Have you thought through and resolved any adverse consequences of paying social tenants rather than landlords?

    • james102

      No and no,I think.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here